Bengaluru's dream: Reaching airport in an hour

Bengaluru's dream: Reaching airport in an hour

The submission of a Detailed Project Report (DPR) on the proposed Metro to the Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) is only the beginning of a long chain of processes which will need to be expedited to benefit commuters.

Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) needs to expedite work on the Gottigere-Nagawara line (Reach 6), which is a prerequisite for the airport line. Even if BMRCL starts work on airport line in the next few months, it will take at least five years to realise the dream of connecting south Bengaluru with KIA through a single metro line.

BMRCL officials have said the airport metro will run on an express line where trains will go at a speed of 60 kmph, taking passengers from Nagawara to KIA in 30 minutes. One can board the metro at Bommasandra and reach the airport in about an hour.

The state government has shown its eagerness with two gestures, bringing the project to Phase 2 and choosing an alignment that requires a minimum land acquisition. “We need to acquire an acre of land for each of the stations at RK Hegde Nagar, Jakkur, Yelahanka, Hejjala besides the two stations at the airport,” sources in BMRCL said.

More technical reports, including crucial works such as soil testing, need to be prepared before civil work on the 29-km line can begin. With the Centre’s new metro policy insisting on private investment, mobilising funds for the Rs 5,900 crore project will be a challenge to the government. The Bangalore International Airport Limited’s (BIAL)'s in-principle approval to fund two stations has definitely given a shot in the arm to the government.

It remains to be seen how quickly the different parties arrive at a decision. Sources in the government have said there are several components related to funding of the project which needs clarity and “may take some time.”

As metro reaches further corners of the city in Phase 2 and adds new lines, there is no doubt that commuters to KIA, which has posted 25% growth in passenger traffic last year, will prefer Metro over the road transport prone to traffic snarls.

However, as urban transport experts and activists have pointed out, people will not shift from private vehicles and taxis to metro if the government fails to provide first and last mile connectivity. Additionally, the government should facilitate airline check-in facilities at metro stations, a convenience that will add to the attraction of Namma Metro.

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